Snake catcher Neil Cutten holds up the two snakes which were fighting behind a slat on the wall of the Billabong shop at the Port of Airlie. He is watched by Port of Airlie marina attendant Zac Adams who tried for more than half an hour to remove the snakes.
Snake catcher Neil Cutten holds up the two snakes which were fighting behind a slat on the wall of the Billabong shop at the Port of Airlie. He is watched by Port of Airlie marina attendant Zac Adams who tried for more than half an hour to remove the snakes. Sharon Harper

Snakes locked in battle in surf store's wall

TWO snakes found fighting behind the timber cladding of an Airlie Beach shop certainly raised plenty of attention on Sunday.

Port of Airlie marina attendant Zac Adams was called to the Billabong shop in the Port of Airlie after one of the staff there saw a snake sticking out of one of the boards on the front of the store.

Armed with just a hammer, Mr Adams tried for about 30 minutes to pry the board away from the wall to free the snake.

"I thought it got stuck and couldn't move," Mr Adams said of the snake which only had part of its body visible.

Early on, Mr Adams thought the snake might be dead because it was not moving, but after about 20 minutes its tail curled.

Another 10 minutes later, local snake catcher Neil Cutten was called, and when the whole slat was pulled off the wall, they found the brown tree snake that had been visible was being attacked by a python which was unseen behind the slat.

"The python was trying to strangle and eat the tree snake," Mr Adams said.

A snake lover himself - having had snakes as pets in the past - Mr Adams was pleased with the outcome of the two snakes being freed while still alive.

"They both ended up getting saved," he said.

Mr Adams admitted he had not seen anything like it down at the Port of Airlie before, having only ever spotted one snake in the area previously, which was a long way from the public areas.

"I thought it was pretty cool," he said.

Mr Adams said the python was released into another area, but the snake catcher was going to care for the brown tree snake for a while.